The world is a diverse mix of people and cultures that often mix and min­gle in surprising ways. Names are meant to convey very specific points. However, sometimes a name sounds quite normal to a particular group of people, but in another culture, people may perceive or associate it with something much different. Here are a couple of examples:

Opera web browser installation files

A case from Opera web browser: After a man downloads the installation file, its name is “Opera_NI_stable,” which in Slovenia could be interpreted as “Opera is NOT stable.” When the filename is read, people in Slovenia might make an immediate association between that browser and instability.

A case from Nokia: The whole range of their mobile phones was named Lumia, which originates from the Finnish word lumi, meaning snow. At the same time, in the Spanish language, lumia is perceived as meaning prostitute.

Nokia Lumia mobile phones

A case from Mitsubishi: Pajero is a popular SUV with, as it appears, an awkwardly chosen name. The word pajero has a degrading meaning in Spanish slang, associated with masturbation. Mitsubishi later renamed it to Montero in Spanish-speaking markets.

Mitsubishi Pajero

A case from Austrian company Kwizda: The company’s name originates from the founder’s last name, a common practice in many cultures. How­ever, in some European languages, even without replacing letters “Kw” with “P,” the name can be associated with an obscene word for vagina. That word could also be a synonym for someone who is unreliable.

Ford Pinto

A case from Ford: Cars are often bought subconsciously based on a sense of pride and masculinity. In Brazil, however, the Ford Pinto had the opposite effect. In Portuguese, the predominate language of Brazil, pinto means “a small penis.” Although they later replaced the name with Corcel, the people were still under their first impression and sales remained microscopic.

What to do? Percaption can check the names for you.

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